Today I woke up feeling all of my 34 years of age. I just could not do this adulting thing because I was feeling the full weight of it. I was feeling all kinds of different emotions, maybe it is adulting or PMS or both. All I know is that I was not feeling fine, had zero motivation for work and I just did not want to engage.
But, I managed to remind myself that a bad day does not mean a bad life.
Now that the day is almost over, here I am still wishing:
…it was Friday already.
…I could have a full day or weekend off.
…I could have days to relax and not have to worry about all the things I have to do.
I prayed more than usual today because I know that worry is not from God. I went to God and cast all my cares onto Him. My faith was being tested for a few hours, but I remembered that God never promised us perfect days in which everything flows without stress, but He did promise that He will never leave or forsake me. I held on for dear life to that promise.
What kind of day are you having? How do you deal with a bad day?
How do you deal with toxicity in relationships, be it with family members, close relations, friends and acquaintances? I am reminded of 1 Peter 4: 8 which talks about loving one another above all and how love covers a multitude of sins. What does this mean when it comes to dealing with human relationships which have become toxic? By toxic I mean any individuals whose behaviours fall into any the following categories:
individuals whose words and actions have betrayed your trust in them,
who always disappoint you and still somehow expect you to stand with them,
or they manipulate you into thinking that everything that goes wrong in the relationship is your fault, and somehow they are never wrong,
and they never apologise…
Personally, in 2020 I feel like saying enough is enough and cancelling people who have toxic energy. But, as a Christian, I am struggling with this. I am aware that I need to forgive every offence and pray for those who continuously offend me. I am also aware that giving the other cheek when slapped is what Jesus would do, but how easy is this for us as humans to do? We are fallible and find such conflicts in relationships very difficult to handle.
I came across a blog post earlier today titled “The love that listens” written by fellow bloggers @Fochwoman and it really helped me put this issue into perspective. You can also read the amazing post HERE. I was reminded of the verse Proverbs 19:11, quoting from the New Living Translation:
Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.
As much as I would want to “cancel” people who have already wronged me at the very beginning of the year, I also want to be a sensible human being and try to understand them and why they may be the way they are. By overlooking their faults, I choose to love in spite of their weaknesses, the same way I would also wish to be loved with all my flaws. This is by no means an easy choice, and yes that little voice screams that “they have always been doing this” and “they will not stop disrespecting and abusing you”; “you’re enabling them by forgiving them”, “yada yada yada”, but that is not the voice to listen to right now.
What makes it easier for me to make this choice right now is the knowledge that I don’t have to do it alone. The Holy Spirit will guide me in knowing the right words to respond when the time comes. And this makes me feel more secure and frees me because I do not have to carry bitterness or unforgiveness in my heart. Through prayer and constant reflection, I believe we can all get to a place where we think before we respond. We can be the light in the darkness and refuse to be the gasolene in the fire of toxicity by speaking back or refusing to pray for those who offend us. I hope this encourages someone today.
I was about to call it a night and head to bed when the thought of my last conversation with a good friend popped in my head. I remembered how he told me about how God can literally guide someone’s footsteps, not just in an abstract sense. He explained how he has been experiencing his walk with God and how it sometimes feels as if God is giving actual directions like a GPS saying turn left, walk straight, now turn right. At the time of our conversation, I remember thinking WOW!!, I could so use that kind of experience right now. Not because I feel like I am lacking direction, but to experience that kind of intimate guidance from God at this point in my life would be so great.
I imagine God telling me what to do about that situation that has been bothering me for weeks. I could literally sit down and feel the advice pouring into me and I would know what to do. Can you imagine such a feeling? I imagine waking up in the morning without a single plan for my day and await God’s direction for the day. But we are so inundated with to-do-lists, weekly and monthly plans, annual, two-year and five-year plans that we often do not stop to ask God for His direction. I imagine a situation of complete surrender to God’s will and direction as a way of life. Would that not remove the weight of anxiety and fear that so often steals our joy?
Here are some verses from the Bible that illustrate God’s guidance:
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.
I believe that prayer is our way of speaking to God, but I am often guilty of taking action right after praying before taking the time to listen to God’s voice. In my mind, I will be thinking I have prayed so everything is going to be fine, so I should get on with my day. But, I want to practice listening to God’s voice more and it is usually that still small voice that demands a quiet, reflective moment in order to hear it. We are too busy and too much in a hurry that we often miss it. Our minds are also filled with so many distractions that it is difficult to focus on what matters.
I’ll just end with a word of thanks to my friend for the insightful conversation. I had no idea that your own experience could resonate with me so much that I want the same for myself. And that is truly how we nurture one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
I have been a Christian for many years and I am still amazed by how much more there is to learn and know about God’s kingdom. I have been reading a book by Dave Roberson titled The Walk of the Spirit, The Walk of Power: The Vital Role of Praying in Tongues and I must tell you, this book has opened up a whole new realm of understanding about my relationship with the Holy Spirit.
I have always thought of the Holy Spirit as that quiet voice that tells me what is the right thing to do or that nudge that I get to wake up and pray. I have also experienced the Holy Spirit as a calming presence which usually manifests in tears falling down my cheeks for some reason when I am praying. However, the tears also bring an amazing sense of peace that embraces me ever so dearly, like a close friend. I also know that when I invite the Holy Spirit, He is always there.
While reading Roberson’s book, however, I am getting to learn of the Holy Spirit as a powerful mover and shaker, the force that can shake things around in the spirit realm, the supernatural power that can mean the difference between success and failure, breakthrough or downfall. I am also learning about the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the spiritual gift of tongues and the role that praying in tongues plays in a believer’s life. One thing that has stuck with me is the fact that praying in tongues allows the Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf, and that it edifies my soul. That last bit is the one that made me go to get a cup of tea and take time to ponder what this all means.
To edify is defined as to instruct someone in a way that enlightens them or uplifts them morally, spiritually or intellectually.
This is so profound for me because I have seen the way my spirit can be lifted, my mood can be shifted and my hope can be renewed just by the power of prayer and the presence of the Holy Spirit. It also means the Holy Spirit can enlighten me by showing me things that I would not have seen otherwise or teach me new things. This makes me so glad to know that not only do I get a spiritual companion, I also get to improve myself and become a better version of myself just by spending more time communing with the Holy Spirit.
I am going through a weird phase in my life where it seems to be all about learning and unlearning. I am becoming someone else and I feel like the Lord is redirecting me. It has not been easy, I am facing a lot of challenges, but hey, on the days when I choose to worship through the chaos, I see things moving on their own in my life. It is amazing and God is amazing.
What has been your experience with the Holy Spirit?
The future is a weird place that we all like to visit from time to time. As humans we just cannot help but spend time in an imagined future, full of hopes and dreams. But, for many of us, the future is filled with anxieties, worries and fears. What if I don’t make it? What if I don’t get that dream house? What if I end up alone? What if, what if, what if? It is an endless list…
Because it is the end of the year, everyone is thinking of the near future, 2019!!It is almost here, but we have already started saying what we want or hope for it to look like. Truth is, these are just more dreams. We have no way of knowing if our resolutions will actually come to pass. We can only hope that they do and put in as much work as we can to try and get there. But, are we ever really in control of what is going to happen to us?
Today I had a revelation. I was reading Psalm 139:5 which says :
You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head
God goes before us, into our future and follows us, into the past. This means He already knows what the future holds and what we have been through before. He has seen it already. What this means for me is that, there is no amount of worrying that is going to change what God has already planned for me. There is no amount of hard work that will change his purpose either. What this also means is that, when you surrender to His will for your life, you can live a life free from worry. If you pray for His will to be done in your life and trust that it will, then there is no need to be uncertain.
This was liberating for me. I am walking into 2019 with a certain feeling that I am going to WIN and everything is going to be just fine. That is a winning mindset.
Sometimes if we really want people to learn how much their actions affect others, we must be willing to do the hardest thing. We must be willing to forgive the unforgivable, just so that they can learn the true meaning of grace and maybe one day seek it for themselves. The toughest thing is to let them in when it hurts the most, that moment you feel like shutting the door if you leave it open just a little bit…maybe, just maybe they will change.
I never used to have faith in people changing. As the saying goes,
a leopard never changes its spots.
But I find myself feeling compassion for those who have hurt me the most, wanting them to know and find the peace I have found for themselves. Also, realising that I might never benefit from their newness when they change, they might benefit other people and not myself. But I still want them to have it.
Forgiveness is hard but it helps the giver more than it does the receiver. Letting go is healing. It may not feel that way at the time, but with time:
you realise that you are free from bitterness, resentment and pain…
you realise their actions do not control you and never had the power to…
you realise you can bend but never break…
you realise you had kept yourself in a mental prison of which the key was in your hand the whole time…
you realise that love is about pain and those who you love will hurt you the most, but you will heal, only if you do not give in to resentment and let go.
I always thought I had the power to get over anything. Physical pain heals faster than emotional pain. But pain is pain and as humans, if we could choose we would choose none of it. Even forgiving people who do not deserve forgiveness is painful. But we still have to do it, not for them but for ourselves.
So with that being said, I forgive you and I choose happiness over sadness. The tears may come but we smile through them. We carry on living.
I would not be where I am without my faith in God, the Creator of the Universe, my Father, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am a firm believer in Christ and today I want to share how this has been my secret ingredient to life. After today, well it is no longer a secret…My glow-up is God-given…a miracle of grace.
I was not raised with a silver spoon in my mouth. My parents were civil servants earning a government salary and I attended both public and mission schools for my primary and high school education. I started seriously praying when I was 15 years old at Sandringham High School which is a Methodist Mission School. I used to be part of the Scripture Union and little did I know that will be the beginning of a beautiful and fulfilling, although challenging relationship with God. I can confidently say that everything I have achieved in the last 15 years of my life since that relationship began is due to my stubborn faith in God and my prayer life.
Most families in Zimbabwe are quite religious and 76% of the population identify as Christians according to this Wikipedia page. I grew up in a home where we were taught that going to church was the right thing to do. I started off going just because I was told to do so, but when I began my own relationship with God, I started going because I wanted to be closer to God. As an adult woman now, I still attend church as a way to fellowship with other believers and spend time in His presence. I have come a long way and these days you can find me singing with the praise & worship team and on occasion sharing a sermon.
At Life Church, Hong Kong
What is the point of faith and prayer? In a world where bad things are happening every day, the poor being exploited by the church in Africa at every opportunity and getting even poorer, is there a point to our faith and prayer? Does God even hear our prayers? These are all questions I have come across in contemporary readings and studies of the faith. The church nowadays has quite a bad rep because of fake prophets who are milking the masses dry with promises of a better life. They prey on the desperation of people in despair. I don’t have all the answers, but I will say something about how faith and prayer work in my own life.
I refuse to lose hope and become resentful and bitter about what is going on in the world. I choose hope instead. Faith keeps me hopeful of a brighter future. After all, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen Hebrews 11:1 (KJV).
When I look back to the time I began my relationship with God, I see how much I have grown and changed. I have been blessed with so many opportunities since then, some of which could never have happened with my own strength or wisdom. Doors have opened in places I never thought they could, I have traveled to places I never dreamt of and sat in boardrooms with people I never thought I could rub shoulders with. I could never look at all that and claim it was all me.
Prayer changes things, people, and situations. This is a subjective point, our experiences may be different, but I have definitely seen mountains move in my life.
It is prayer week at Faith Gateway where I get my daily devotionals. I dedicate today’s post to Prayer Week as I begin my week of prayer. I leave you with this: